Choice names, shames kids’ snacks
23rd January 2007, 7:00 WST

Innocent they may appear, but this list of yummy-looking kids’ snacks has been “outed” by Australia’s consumer watchdog as the most likely to make our children fat.

The 10 products have been “named and shamed” in a Choice magazine survey because they are heavily promoted, are market leaders, are targeted at kids and cram the same amount of kilojoules per 100g into them as a Big Mac — a combination Choice says is likely to add to Australia’s obesity epidemic.

Choice spokeswoman Indira Naidoo said advertising and labelling was misleading parents into thinking they were buying healthy food.

“Part of these foods’ popularity is due to misleading claims made, leading parents to believe they are not as unhealthy as they really are,” she said. “But even a small serve can be as dense in kilojoules as a small meal.”

One of Arnott’s Tiny Teddys products topped the list for having the most amount of kilojoules packed into the least amount of food. An Arnott’s spokeswoman said the company was planning to withdraw the product because of poor sales.

Uncle Tobys took another hit for its fruit roll-ups, which gained the wrath of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last year for promotional material which claimed they were “made with 65 per cent real fruit”. The Choice survey said the product was high in sugar and contained a type of oil which was a source of artery-clogging trans fats.

Nestle’s Milo Cereal, which was promoted as having “slow-burning energy”, was found to have more kilojoules and fat than the muchmaligned Kellogg’s Coco Pops.

Steggles Chicken nuggets, The Natural Beverage Company’s Apple Naturally Flavoured Soft Drink, Go Natural Berry Pieces in Yoghurt, Kraft Dairy Bites Snack Abouts Cheese Spread and Chicken Flavoured Biscuits, Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bar and Ferrero’s popular Nutella spread rounded out the survey’s top 10.

Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Dick Wells rejected any suggestion that food manufacturers were making children fat.

Perth general practitioner Professor Bernard Pearn-Rowe said junk food advertising should have been banned during children’s television programs a decade ago.